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Netflix Aims To Expand Its Video Game Plans

In retrospect, it seems clear that Netflix's decision last year to throw its hat into the video gaming ring was a way to weather the massive changes in streaming that were in store. By then, it was already clear that the streaming giant wasn't the only game in town. And sure enough, this past April, when Netflix announced its first loss of subscribers in ten years and a loss of more than a third of its stock value, writers like the Washington Post's Shannon Liao found the choice to diversify very opportune.

Still, it was a risky call and was never guaranteed to pay off. The small stall of games that Netflix built up included some intriguing choices. Two games, "Stranger Things: 1984" and "Stranger Things 3: The Game," obviously cash in on the immense popularity of one of Netflix's most iconic properties.

"Still," Zack Zwiezen of Kotaku wrote, "with a solid list of games that continues to grow, Netflix is struggling to get anyone to care." Download numbers for these games were disappointing. At the time, only about one percent of Netflix users played any of its games (via Kotaku).

Netflix is doubling down on video games

Nonetheless, Netflix is redoubling its efforts in the gaming world. According to Deadline, Netflix has at least 55 games currently in development on top of the 35 already available for play. A letter to shareholders reads, "Our first year was about establishing our gaming infrastructure and understanding how our members interact with games." In other words, according to execs, the first year of Netflix video games was never supposed to be a smashing success.

This means that the streamer may be unveiling some interesting ideas in the coming months. The shareholder letter makes specific mention of gaming content that crosses over between TV and film properties already on Netflix, which means that we will likely be seeing more of the template used in the two "Stranger Things" video games.

Netflix also seems keen on figuring out whether the series-to-video-game pipeline can work the other way. Along with the video game version of the Oatmeal's gloriously demented tabletop card game "Exploding Kittens," Netflix also announced an animated series adaptation. Recent news is that Tom Ellis and Lucy Liu have both signed on (via Variety).